Tuesday, April 01, 2014

CHARLES LONG



Charles Long with Eluvium, Brady Foster, Seth Hawkins, Emery Martin, Michael Mascha, Carrie Paterson, Karen
Reitzel, and Solid Concepts, Memory Print Boutique (detail), 2014. Mixed media. Dimensions variable. Installation
view, CATALIN, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin. Courtesy the artists and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.
Photograph by Ben Aqua.

ModAustin.net re-post of my article

It has been so long since I have been to the Austin Contemporary that I couldn’t help but be excited when I walked in the downtown Jones Center. My membership card has been this amazing winters ice scraping tool for the windows of my truck for many a morning. I don’t know why my Contemporary card worked better than my various other cards I tried. For the card’s ice removal abilities alone, it was worth donating an artwork to get it. And by coincidental magic, I walk into the space for the first time using this ice shaving membership card to Charles Long’s ice exhibition.

Like I said, I wanted to be excited. While downstairs, I wanted to look close at his 3D printed icebergs, but ropes cordon off all the works. I understand the opening didn’t have this impediment to inspect the work. I looked at the installation, and I felt a little like I was really in a science and technology museum, which I guess was part of the point. Each work was interesting, but lacked a feeling of variety. Long’s image on the wall was pretty and seemed to reference a nautical map. However, it felt more like decoration for a themed room, rather than something with content. I understand there were smell experiments as well, but that was cordon off as well, so really Long’s interactive art just became artifacts of the opening rather than something aesthetic and informative.

Upstairs was a video on huge screens, which I watched a little. I am kind of sold on the idea that man is affecting the climate and I can imagine most people that visit a Contemporary art space are in the same camp. Long is preaching to the choir, so I feel his art is having less impact just by showing in a safe place. Maybe Long should consider this work displayed near the next CPAC conference. I did love the room floor littered with stretched material around a structure that made his objects look like icebergs floating.

I came away from Long’s show disappointed. To steal the phrase of a local artist in Austin, “I was underwhelmed.” I felt like this show should have been epic and impactful. You would think Long would want a kind of call to action compulsion after you see the show. I however, was left cold. Charles Long will have his installation up through April 20th.

ModAustin.net for more images

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